Bradd Fox, June 2019

Tell us a little bit about yourself - where you were born, where you grew up, career, hobbies, interests, etc. 


I am from the small town of Clarkson on the west side of Rochester where I picked up my love of motocross, camping and other outdoor hobbies.

What brought you to the Bikram Yoga practice? Where did you first learn about Bikram Yoga

After a motocross crash, I suffer from back pain and balance issues (I was unconscious for 11 days after a motocross crash). Yoga seemed like a good way to continue “physical therapy”. After a friend at work and my chiropractor suggested hot yoga around the same time, I figured I would give it a shot.


How often do you practice? 

I don’t think anyone would want to practice less! Haha, I wish I could come more often but 2-3 times a week is all I can seem to squeeze in.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well-being? 

Before my first class I had issues that were left over from my motocross crash. These issues ranged from back and neck pain (from herniated disks) to balance.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

 

After starting yoga I have learned to stand on one foot again (If I wanted to I can confidently put on socks and shoes at the top of the stairs!). I have recently picked up another discipline of motorcycle riding called Observed Trials. It is a very balance intensive type of riding, where the goal is to traverse obstacles without putting your feet down. Yoga has been a great cross training activity.

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits? 

The physical and mental conditioning from this practice has helped my recovery immensely. Being that I sit at a desk all day at work, yoga has become an important part of my workout routine to try and balance things out.


What is your favorite part of Sunset Yoga Oswego?

The people here are great; from the instructors, the regulars and even the “now and again” people that stop in. Everyone has a great mindset and open to helping everyone else get the most out of their yoga practice. I have recently tried vinyasa yoga that is also offered at Sunset Yoga, and have been happy with that as well.

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Ashley Scaccia, March 2019

Tell us a little bit about yourself - where you were born, where you grew up, career, hobbies, interests, etc. 

I am a lifelong resident of Oswego, NY. I studied art, childhood education, and literacy education at SUNY Oswego. I began teaching for the Oswego City School District after graduation in 2012. I’ve subbed in all of our schools, and have taught 1st grade and 3rd grade over the last 4 years. I finally landed my dream job last February, and can proudly say that I am the art teacher at Kingsford Park Elementary School. I enjoy drawing and painting, live music, running, and of course… yoga!

What brought you to the Bikram Yoga practice? Where did you first learn about Bikram Yoga

I first learned about Bikram yoga in 2008 when my friend Maggie, a former Bikram yoga instructor, gifted me a 10-day intro pass for Christmas. I fell in love with it immediately and haven’t stopped since.


How often do you practice? 

I do my best to make it to class at least 3 times a week. I also practice at home, and add a little yoga into my routine at the gym. Yoga is a beautiful compliment to any physical activity. I have lots of friends that love yoga and we enjoy practicing together when we hang out.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well-being? 

Before I began practicing yoga, I would get sore knees from running. Yoga has almost entirely corrected that ailment. I also have sore feet from developing bunions. Yoga has helped me become aware of how I balance my weight when I walk and run, and this helps lessen the pain. It helps me with digestive issues and migraines, as well. I cannot imagine where I’d be without yoga. Yoga brings me mental clarity, emotional balance, and has transformed my physical body in miraculous ways. 

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?


Yoga gives me energy, mental clarity, and emotional well-being. It has taught me how to have a relationship with myself. I am so deeply aware of the subtle energies in my body and know the importance of self-care and self-love. The beauty of yoga is that it is a lifelong practice, and I know that my relationship with myself will continue to grow stronger and deeper. Yoga enhances every aspect of my life by helping me live in the present moment and be mindful of my thoughts and actions.


How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits? 

 I am a healthier person, physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally because of yoga. Self-care is so important and yoga teaches us how to be kind to our mind, body, and soul. I am able to deal with the stresses of life because I’ve learned how to be present, breathe, and stay calm through challenges.  I used to have a lot of anxiety and depression, and did not always make rational choices under stress and pressure. Over the years, I’ve become a much more secure and stable person. I don’t believe that I could have made this transformation without yoga. It’s been a long journey, and I am grateful that it will continue for the rest of my life. 

What is your favorite part of Sunset Yoga Oswego?

I love the community at Sunset Yoga Oswego. I have been practicing here for 11 years and I love seeing all of the yogis that have been transforming alongside me since my journey began. I love that we celebrate the end of each session with an applause, cheering each other on for our hard work and self-care. The energy in the room is beautiful and I am honored to be a part of this community.  I am beyond grateful for Sandy and Judy, bringing this practice to my lifelong home. People travel from all over to be a part of this studio and I’m so fortunate that it’s always been right here for me. I truly cannot imagine my life without this. Thank you, I am sincerely honored to be your yogi of the month.

Pat Culeton, February 2019

Tell us a little bit about yourself - where you were born, where you grew up, career, hobbies, interests, etc. 

I grew up in Fulton and after marrying my husband, Jim, moved to Oswego over 40 years ago. We have 3 grown children and 4 grandchildren (plus one on the way!). At Excellus Health Plan, I was a Project Manager before retiring a few years ago.  I love going on vacation to warm weather areas during the winter, and golfing. 

What brought you to the Bikram Yoga practice? Where did you first learn about Bikram Yoga


A few of my friends introduced me to Bikram a number of years ago when it was at the Kingsford house, but my work schedule didn’t coincide with the yoga schedule.  After I retired, I was able to practice Bikram yoga again! 


How often do you practice? 

Between attending classes and doing the poses at home, I practice about 4 times a week.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well-being? 

I have several health issues; Fibromyalgia being one of those issues. Every doctor repeated the same thing - get and keep moving or you’re going to be in even more pain. Just moving was so painful and the last thing I wanted to do was to exercise. I fearfully went back to Bikram yoga, because I thought the heat would help me move a little better. Well, that fear turned into eagerness to attend the next class. After each class I realized that I could move more and for longer periods with less pain, plus the depression lifted. I’ve never been known for my coordination and flexibility, so I continue to surprise myself when I can go deep into and hold the poses. At first I couldn’t do most of the poses and had to rest often, but with each class I gained more strength and flexibility.  

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

Bikram yoga helped to give me back and keep mobility.


How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits? 

 After several years of the healing effects of Bikram yoga, I’ve once again been able to add walking to my exercise routine!  I can enjoy and do more activities with my husband, children and grandchildren, which is priceless!!

What is your favorite part of Sunset Yoga Oswego?
 

The heat is one of my favorite parts of Sunset Yoga because I couldn’t have made it this far without it.  I learn something new from each of the different instructors.  The instructors emphasize that each person is at a different level and each yogi must focus on themselves, which helps me to focus on me and not think about competition or others judging me.  

 

I would love to see more morning Bikram classes, but understand that we need more yogis to attend to make it worth the instructor’s time.

Danielle Florio, January 2019

Tell us a little bit about yourself - where you were born, where you grew up, career, hobbies, interests, etc. 

My parents moved to Fulton, N.Y. when I was three to pastor a local church- I am the oldest of four children; they have since moved away, but at thirty-five years old, I am still here and have made the Fulton community my home.  I have attended SUNY Brockport and SUNY Oswego to complete my Bachelors (English Literature), Masters (Curriculum and Instruction) and Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) in Educational Administration, and am currently the English Department Chair at G. Ray Bodley High School (Go Raiders!).  I have been part of this rewarding field for over ten years. Aside from my work and the practice of yoga, as well as exercise in general, I also find enjoyment from reading, praying, writing, cooking, being outdoors, playing piano, spending time with my family, and watching/attending college football.  

What brought you to the Bikram Yoga practice? Where did you first learn about Bikram Yoga

In the spring of 2013, a friend at work invited me to a Bikram class. I had always enjoyed working out and staying fit, but had never tried yoga, so I was up for the challenge. After the first class, I knew that this was something that was going to hook me. I had strength and flexibility, but I could immediately feel that this practice was going to help me reach a truly fulfilling level of fitness that I had never attained. At the time, Sandy had the studio at the Kingsford House, in the top floor of that gorgeous old home.  The ambiance of the room combined with the beauty of the hot yoga completely enveloped me and I have needed this life-sustaining practice ever since.

How often do you practice? 

From 2013-2015, I practiced nearly every single day (morning or night), but the craziness of life takes over so I am grateful to get to the studio at minimum three times a week, mostly in the evenings as a much-needed unwind to the day.  I try to practice more in the summer, but I also find it relaxing to take the postures that I have come to love, and practice on my own at our family’s camp on Cross Lake, or in the yoga room I have in my house. 

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well-being? 

I have engaged in physically strenuous exercises all of my life, and as I entered my 30s, I was starting to feel the effects of running, kick-boxing and weight-lifting on my knees.  My career and continued education have also come with their share of pressures, and prior to adopting this yoga practice, I was feeling the effects of this internally, having troubles with my digestion and anxiety/lack of sleep from internalizing stress.  After a few weeks of practicing and willfully focusing my mind on making my yoga truly MY yoga, the stress did not seem so stressful and the aches in my body were replaced with newfound flexibility as well as strength. 

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

Yoga has transformed my life, giving me a place of solace from the chaos of life, an opportunity to feel strong (from bones to skin, fingertips to toes), and relief from the physical issues that plagued me before. I feel healthy, balanced and empowered through this practice. 
 
How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits? 

 When I practice yoga, I come back to me, my purpose in life and relationship with God, and those I love, my work (that I am so passionate about), and finding the strength that I need to keep focused on all of these things.  I truly believe that God led me to yoga to help me through some of the most difficult times in my life, divorce, and positive changes. Without this practice and my faith, I do not know how I could have done all that I have done, and have the strength to do all that I will do, in my life; it is truly the key to emotional, mental and spiritual health.

What is your favorite part of Sunset Yoga Oswego?

My favorite part of Sunset Yoga Oswego is the extended family that has become my yoga practice, and the escape that it offers me. The people here, Sandy, Judy and the rest of the team, are wonderful people who believe in the power of this exercise to help the mind and the soul.  I am looking forward to a lifetime of practice and perhaps even becoming an instructor too someday. 

Penny Bond, December 2018

Tell us a little bit about yourself - where you were born, where you grew up, career, hobbies, interests, etc. 

I was born at Oswego hospital and grew up in the town of New Haven as the youngest of thirteen children. After graduating from Mexico high school I attended SUNY Oswego where I obtained my Bachelors degree in Math Education. My career began doing cover leave positions at several schools in the area and I finally settled in at Fulton. After teaching for about ten years, I decided to continue my education at SUNY Cortland to obtain my CAS in Educational Administration. I am currently the math department chair at GRB high school and have worked there for 23 years.

What brought you to the Bikram Yoga practice? Where did you first learn about Bikram Yoga? 

For fun I like to golf and downhill ski. These activities are physical and the strength and flexibility yoga provides has helped me with both. I decided to try Bikram yoga after my friend Danielle convinced me of the benefits. 

How often do you practice? 


I try to practice yoga at least three days per week now.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well-being? 

My job is very stressful and yoga has helped me to deal with this stress. Since beginning Bikram yoga a year ago, I have lost a few pounds and several inches. My chronic hip pain and lower back pain have nearly disappeared and my blood pressure has dropped significantly. The tightness I used to feel in my chest due to stress is now gone and that has been the most beneficial change of all.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

Practicing yoga helps bring my life into balance. I never realized how important it was to take care of myself first in order to be able to take care of others. 

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits? 

Yoga has changed my life in so many positive ways both mentally and physically and I will be a yogi for life. When I retire, I would like to become a yoga teacher.

What is your favorite part of Bikram Yoga Oswego?

The yogis at Oswego Bikram yoga are a family the teachers are wonderful. They have encouraged me during every step of my yoga journey. ​

Chul Lee, September 2018

Tell us a little bit about yourself - where you were born, where you grew up, career, hobbies, interests, etc. 

My name is Chul. I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea but I went to schools in Texas, NY and finally Syracuse. I graduated from SU Law School and went back to Korea and practiced with a law firm there for 5 years. I am interested in, of course, yoga, tennis, running, classical music and cooking.

What brought you to the Bikram Yoga practice? Where did you first learn about Bikram Yoga? 

I grew up playing the violin from age 6 and eventually minored in music in college. Music gave me great opportunities but at the same time playing the violin most of my life came with some tendonitis issues. Besides, the law firm life was brutal and was starting to have detrimental effects on my health. In 2004, about 2 years after I started working at the law firm, my gym, which was right next door to my law firm, entered into an agreement with Bikram. The club built a hot room and Bikram supplied teachers. I gave it a try and got hooked right after the first class. Bikram sent us very good teachers including the 2008 Bikram International Asana Champion, Ball Rattanapong, and I was intrigued to learn more about Bikram yoga every day.

​How often do you practice? 

When I lived in Seoul, my gym had about a dozen teachers and had two classrooms. So, there was a class starting every hour from 6:30 AM till late in the evening. I am a morning person so I always tried to squeeze in at least one yoga a day early in the morning, took a shower and ran to my meeting in the office just around the corner. One day I did yoga on a hot summer day and went to my meeting. Thought I’d showered, I perspired during the whole meeting, which was quite embarrassing. In 2007, before I moved back to the US, I resigned from the law firm and had about 2 months I didn’t work. I went to yoga twice a day every day one in the morning and later in the afternoon for two months. I could do a lot of poses I can no longer do. One day my teacher made me do advance camel and that was the only time I could do it. Now, since I live in Syracuse, I can’t practice as often. But I try to come up to Oswego once or twice a week. Winter can be challenging to come up, but there’s always my bathroom that can be turned into a lukewarm room.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well-being? 

I still have the tendonitis problem that flares up once in a while, but now I know what to do. Locust pose helps me a lot, especially. It not only stretches my arms that have the tendonitis problem but it also relaxes my shoulders as my shoulders tend to tighten due to long hours at the computer. 

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

Mindfulness is the great benefit. One might think think Bikram is purely hatha and hatha is purely physical. But as I practice Bikram continually for more than a decade, I see the mental dimension being added and getting stronger.

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits? 

When I first started Bikram in 2004, I spent average 12 hours in the office every day, frequently brought home work and regularly went into the office on Saturdays. I had constant back pain and tight shoulders. Now I don’t work that extensive hours but still my job requires extended period of time at the computer and it still causes aches and pains here and there. However, since I found Bikram, I know where to go to relieve that and if I can’t go to hot room, I can always do a few poses every now and again to relax my muscles.

What is your favorite part of Bikram Yoga Oswego?

I like everything about Bikram Yoga Oswego except the distance from my house.  I especially like the warm and welcoming environment that Sandy and Judy always make sure to create.  I’ve been coming to Bikram Yoga Oswego for almost 10 years and I miss some of the regulars when I can’t make it up there for a while in winter.  

Kristen Skinner, April 2018

Tell us a little bit about yourself - where you were born, where you grew up, career, hobbies, interests, etc. 

I was born in Oswego, New York and have lived here my whole life. It is hard to believe in just a few months I will be heading to New York City for college! I will be majoring in Journalism and Graphic Design at Fordham University, and I hope to find a yoga studio to take classes at and eventually become a certified yoga instructor. I love doing yoga, dancing, creating art, playing with my dog, and spending time with my family.

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice? Where did you first learn about Bikram yoga? 

My “Yoga Mom”, as I call her, Judy Osetek, brought me to the Bikram yoga practice in 2013. I had just started becoming more curious about yoga, but I really did not know much about Bikram yoga. I went in to my first class expecting it to be like a regular yoga practice with a bit more heat, and I ended up being very surprised as to how difficult it was! But I also felt both peaceful and revitalized, and that is what got me more interested in the practice, and what brought me back for more.

​How often do you practice? 

I used to try to do at least three Bikram yoga classes per week, but now I pretty much do it every day! I love yoga so much and I feel so much better both mentally and physically after each class. My body craves yoga, so I try to do it as much as I can. On the days when I have to miss Bikram, I make sure to do at least some kind of yoga at home.  

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well-being? 

I have been fortunate enough, knock-on-wood, to not have any physical issues prior to taking my first class of Bikram yoga, but Bikram yoga has certainly made numerous positive changes in my life both mentally and physically. I have improved my flexibility and balance tremendously since I started my practice, and my mind has become stronger, too. My focus and determination on the mat has helped me to keep this mindset in my daily life as well. 

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

One major reason that I love yoga so much is that it gives me the opportunity to let go. It seems like such a simple thing, but it can be difficult to do in our daily lives that at times become chaotic and stressful. But when I come to my yoga mat, in the toasty hot yoga room, and I come into deep and beautiful postures like camel pose, it just feels so amazing. We do not judge each other at Bikram Yoga, but we all have this positive energy in the studio, and it radiates, as we lift each other up. 

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits? 

Bikram yoga has taught me what it means to be mindful of both myself and others. I have become more mindful of my well-being and what foods I put in my body. I became vegan in 2015, and I think my Bikram yoga influenced some of the reasons I made this decision. Bikram yoga has also helped me to get through many challenges in my life. High school has not been an easy road for me, and I do not know that I could have gotten through these last few years without my yoga practice. It is truly amazing how significantly a bad day can be turned around through the powers of yoga. Yoga has taught me to be grateful for all I have in the present moment, and to see the good in all situations. Some days can seem so hard, but when we take the time to pause and take a deep breath, we realize how wonderful this life really is, and I have learned much of this from yoga.

What is your favorite part of Bikram Yoga Oswego?

I love EVERYTHING about Oswego Bikram yoga! I love the heat, our foot massages on the days we have small classes, the beautiful music classes, the days we sweat so much it seems like we are in a rainforest, the amazing postures, the cold wash-cloths infused with essential oils at the end of class, the beautiful light-up stars that hang from the ceiling, but most importantly I LOVE our yoga family. Judy, Sandy, Julie, and all the yoga students who come to our studio make each class even more worthwhile. Everyone is so inspiring and give me the motivation and positive energy that I need both in and out of class. Coming to Oswego Bikram yoga feels like coming to my second home.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I can’t say enough about the benefits of Bikram yoga, or about our wonderful studio. Yoga is for everyone and I would be lost without it. I am so grateful for Bikram Yoga Oswego and for this practice that is truly a gift.

Thank you! <3

 

​Andrew Hatalla, December 2016

​Tell us a little bit about yourself - where you were born, where you grew up, career, hobbies, interests, etc. 

I was born and raised in the CNY, left a few times and may again, but the region will always be home. I grew up playing every sport I could get my feet into from track to rugby whether I was any good or not. I like running around and even as a young adult, I heard my knees popping, clicking, cracking and knew my time pounding the courts and pavement was limited. A year or so of repeated injuries attempting to perform tricks on the small pieces of wood the kids call skateboards left my wrists and ankles destabilized to the point that they still give out unexpectedly when holding frying pans or textbooks. I love to move. Until yoga, I needed movement to connect my mind and body. Now I can also reach that awareness through stillness and practice. I look forward to learning some of the things I have left for those rainy days like learning to dance and swim (more like the fish in the water than out). Without Bikram, Sandy, and the yogi family those dreams might not be possible for me today. 

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice? Where did you first learn about Bikram yoga? 

A chronic, debilitating back injury had plagued me (and those around me) for over a year and a half before machismo bowed to my pain, disability, and I accepted an invitation to the studio offered by a pretty girl. Despite all the pain, self-consciousness very nearly held me back from that first class. I am forever grateful for all the experience, guidance, and acceptance I have received in and out of the hot room since then. I doubt I would even have suffered the injury in the first place if I had been doing Bikram all along, but mentally, I needed it to get through those doors and barriers that first time.    

How often do you practice? 

I practice as often as I can. Some trimesters that is once a week and some trimesters it can be as much as three or four times a week. Ideally, I would practice 4-5 times per week immediately after strength training. My practice offers many opportunities for life lessons. There is a gravity about the hot room that can override years of “no pain, no gain” mantras and allow an understanding that trying too hard is not as beneficial as breathing throughout the posture. Regular practice is more beneficial than crash courses. 

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well-being? 

I knew I had some issues before Bikram with trick knees, ankles, wrists, and a spastic back being the primary issues. The knees will always be the limiting factor in fixed firm pose, but I have experienced improvement in axes of movement I thought were lost to me forever. The physical relief I entered Bikram looking for has exceeded my expectations time and time again. Yoga has changed my life in ways I am sure I am unaware of. Some few I have noticed are a sense of serenity, acceptance, and security knowing that there is a place I can go to release, relax, and recharge. 

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?


The physical benefits were only the beginning. I have discovered muscles I didn’t even know I had deep within my back that were holding me hostage in their grip. The routine, environment, teachers, energy in the room, and solitude of one’s own practice has allowed the physical to become a vehicle for other lessons I wasn’t looking for or even aware that I needed. The greatest benefits of my practice have been internal. The studio has provided the structure and the 90 minutes the vehicle to link more benefits than I can really recount here and I never really know where that might be next. My job is to follow instruction to where ever I am that day, stay in the moment, and breathe. 

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits? 

Yoga has certainly changed my health and stabilized emotions throughout some of those tumultuous times life throws my way. Between family, relationships, and graduate school I dare say I would be lost without yoga. Bikram yoga in particular has curbed my pursuit of various vices because I know how it will affect my practice. Yoga has contributed to quitting cigarettes, drinking less alcohol, drinking less coffee, drinking more water, taking in more nutrients, and paying more attention to what and when I eat. I sleep better when I practice yoga on a regular basis. Stress and tension held in the body have the opportunity to be released in the hot room. When I first started coming to yoga four years ago, some of the teachers would give a sort of warning before class to let the new students know what to expect. There were several, but two that stood out to me were euphoria and crying. I don’t know that I will ever quite reach the height of rabbit pose, but despite those warnings, I was still surprised to experience (usually on separate occasions) both incredible joy and tears sliding down my cheeks. This yoga is more than a series of motions, it really taps into emotions as well. Odd as it might have seemed to the stooped man who limped and winced through the doors that first day, this practice has become one of my primary teachers in life. I wouldn’t be the same without it. 

What is your favorite part of Bikram Yoga Oswego?

My favorite part about Bikram Yoga Oswego is the care, attention, and dedication Sandy and Judy give to create a place for a yogi family. It's a special treat when one can attend a class empty enough that Sandy will walk out your feet or gently push you through a stretch. Through a bit of travel I was exposed to some other studios and found that many don’t bring out cool, scented washcloths for the yogis! We really are spoiled here and I love it. Without their perseverance to get through the training to become an instructor, build out, and even find a this new location, we wouldn’t be here. A special thanks to all those who have worked in the background to make this studio possible. I look forward to sweating with you all soon!

Mike Cummins, February 2015

Tell us a little bit about yourself - where you were born, where you grew up, career, hobbies, interests, etc. 

I was born and raised in Oswego.  Marsha and I have been married for thirty years this year; we have twin daughters Aleksandra (Sasha) and Tatyana (Ana). I have recently retired from Nine Mile Point as the Fix-It-Now (FIN) Supervisor after 35 years.

I’m an avid hunter especially archery which has similar aspects to yoga. Bow hunting takes discipline, practice and patience.  I like to travel with my family exploring new places and ride my motorcycle which I will do now that I’m retired.

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice? Where did you first learn about Bikram yoga? 

My wife attended yoga with a co-worker and told me about it.  She thought I would like it.  I started in late summer last year and have been attending ever since.    

How often do you practice? 

Currently, I’m participating in the thirty day challenge; normally I try to practice three times a week.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well-being? 

I’ve had back problems for a long time and have developed sciatica in my right leg.  Since I have been practicing yoga, the flexibility of my back has improved and the sciatica has all but disappeared and I have also noticed that my clothes fit better.  I have lost seven pounds since starting the thirty day challenge.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

Improving the flexibility of my back and my health in general has been great and losing a few pounds is a nice benefit too!

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits? 

Yoga has taught me to meditate and focus which has helped me to relax.  I have also noticed that my sleep duration has improved.

Jennifer Ruta, March 2014

Tell us a little bit about yourself - where you were born, where you grew up, career, hobbies, interests, etc. 

Like most of my fellow students, I've grown up and lived here in Central New York. I'm enjoying my second career as a NYS Licensed Massage Therapist with a private practice in Fulton. After having spent nearly 20 years working for a Radiology practice, I am enjoying working on the other side, a happier side of health care.

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice? Where did you first learn about Bikram yoga? 

My first awareness of Bikram Yoga came from overhearing a random conversation at a shop in Armory Square. It sounded intriguing, a bit off the beaten path from a more typical yoga practice. I gave it a try and loved it instantly!

How often do you practice? 

I've been practicing at the Oswego studio for over five years. Although I've taken a couple breaks over that time, in my mind I'm at yoga everyday! Coming to class consistently four times a week seems to be the perfect fit for me. Sometimes I take five or six classes a week just because it's so nice to be there.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well-being? 

It seems the changes with physical issues are well documented by virtually every student that has had the gift of walking through the doors of the Kingsford House and starting a yoga practice. Quite simply, if something is bothering you physically or mentally chances are good you'll feel better as you move along in your yoga.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

Greatest benefits? I think that despite the intense physical nature of the class, the meditative qualities achieved through the flow of the ninety minutes are remarkable. On any given day I may come to class with a roulette wheel of varying physical, mental or emotional issues. I always feel centered and back in my life after I take the washcloth off of my forehead and head back out to the world.

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits? 

When I was nine I suffered a badly broken leg after being struck by a car while riding my bike. I was always outside, playing, running, doing gymnastics, all the active things that kids do. When you are a child, it seems one is blissfully unaware of the limitations of our minds and bodies. As kids, we already have what we seem to seek forever as adults, as yoga students, to live in the moment, to simply, be. For whatever reasons, that accident traumatized me, creating a rift, a detour between me and the balance that comes with an active mind and body. Bikram Yoga has reconnected me to the joy of movement, to the freedom of play, to the feeling of wondrous life as my heart beats, sweat drips and muscles work...the real timeawareness of your mind and body as your very own.

What is your favorite part of Bikram Yoga Oswego?

The beautiful staircase! From the first step I take after removing my shoes to the end of the barefoot ascent where I see the smiling face of the teacher.

Sunspots on different parts of the floor as we move through the seasons.

Traveling teachers who bring the world to us.

The shared experience with my fellow students.

The feeling of happiness and gratitude that we have this studio in Oswego, NY. 

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Wherever we live, there are always things that define who and where we are. They are sometimes tangible, like the house where we grew up, or the grocery store where we had our first job, our beautiful Lake Ontario. Sometimes they are a bit more amorphous, like the feeling of a snow day, the smell of green when spring finally arrives to our town, or the taste of Arugula salad after yoga! We miss those things when we are away, and are always happy to greet them when we return. When I pull into the parking lot of the Kingsford house, I feel home.

Jodi Mullen, February 2014

Tell us a little bit about yourself - where you were born, where you grew up, career, hobbies, interests, etc. 

I am originally from Northport, Long Island. I came to Oswego for college and never left. I am a full time professor in the Counseling & Psychological Services Department at SUNY Oswego, Director of Integrative Counseling Services (Oswego, Cicero, Auburn), Mental Health Counselor, Author & International speaker/presenter.  I am the proud momma of Leah and Andrew. 

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice? Where did you first learn about Bikram yoga? 

My sister dragged me to a Bikram class on Long Island during a visit.  I remember turning to her during a floor pose and mouthing “I’m going to die.” At the time I was training for a marathon and shocked that I could not make it through a class. I went back with her though the very next day; I like a challenge! On the six hour ride back to Oswego I started researching if there were any Bikram classes nearby.  I originally got hooked because of the balance it brought to my fitness routine while I was marathon training. I also noticed quickly how being in the hot room seemed to make running in the heat and humidity less of a challenge.

How often do you practice? 

I practice as often as I can although it never feels like enough. My ideal would be to practice everyday! 

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well-being? 

I am blessed to not have any major physical challenges however I feel the wear and tear that also being a runner for the past 10 years has had on me. My body and mind both crave yoga. It soothes my sore muscles and joints, while at the same time provides an intense and challenging workout.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

Sometimes I forget that yoga class counts as a workout. After about six months of coming to classes regularly something changed. Bikram yoga class went from being a challenging physical workout to a moving meditation. The greatest benefit is that I am totally focused on breathing and NOTHING else for 90 minutes. It is the only experience I have where my mind is quiet.

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits? 

I love that each moment of yoga challenges my inner critic. My physical and emotional core is stronger and it looks it. I feel fit and healthy, I look fit and healthy, I am fit and healthy.

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Yoga is about acceptance and love. I spend 90 minutes breathing calmly, accepting who I am and what I see in the mirror, and loving the positive peaceful energy that flows in the room.
 

Cindy Yuan, December 2013

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I came from China 16 years ago as an exchange student. I received my bachelor's and master's degrees from SUNY Oswego. I met my husband in school and we started our family here. After being a stayhome mom for 6 years, I started my new career as a home stager. I love to travel, and have been to more than 20 countries so far.

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

I heard about Bikram yoga in year 2008 and wanted to try it so bad. But with two little kids at home I wasn't able to at that time. Finally I started this summer.   

How often do you practice?

I try to practice Birkram at least 4 times a week. I can not live without Bikram more than 3 days.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

I didn't have any physical issues when I started Bikram. In general, I do feel I have more energy . I lost some weight after the 30 day challange as well.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice? How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

The benefits of my practice are both physical and emotional changes. My mother passed away in year 2005. I was really depressed, stressed and anxious all the time. I started to practice yoga to ease my problem. After 8 years of practicing yoga regularly, I still was not be able to focus on my practice. I tried medication and it doesn't work. Birkram yoga turely changed it. It helped to ease my stress and anxiety. I was be able to focus on my practice every single mintue. I feel wonderful and much happier than before.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I am so thankful for the beautiful studio which is only 5 mintues from my house. The teachers are wonderful here. This is the only place I can find my inner peace in the whole world. Thank you so much. 

Julie Mcnulty, October 2013

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I am originally from Fulton; I moved to Oswego about 7 years ago.  I have 3 grown daughters, my boyfriend, Bernie, a dog and 2 cats!  I work for an attorney here in town; I love to read, sew and walk with my dog and ride my bike when I can.  

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

I was taking a yoga class in Fulton and doing workout dvd’s at home. I heard some people talking about the hot yoga classes, and it sparked my interest.  I took my first class in 2010 and loved it.  I started coming regularly a couple of years ago.    

How often do you practice?

I try to get to class 3 to 4 times a week.  I did my first 30 day challenge in August and was so proud of myself!  I felt so amazing after that challenge and can’t wait for the next one!  Some day I’d like to try a 60 day challenge.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

I had the usual aches and pains and weight-gain that comes with getting older and being less active.   I sprained by left wrist really bad a couple of summers ago, and I was having a lot of pain in my left arm and shoulder from that.  Since I’ve been doing Bikram Yoga more regularly now, I’ve seen almost all of those issues disappear. I still struggle with some knee issues, but they’re getting better.  I’ve lost weight, toned and tightened.  I feel wonderful!    

What are the greatest benefits of your practice? How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

The greatest benefits of practicing Bikram Yoga for me are the overall feeling of wellness, feeling more confident in myself and feeling healthier than I have in a long time. 

Practicing Bikram Yoga has changed my health and life in that I just feel so good all the time; I don’t have the muscle and joint aches and pains that I used to have.  I’ve lost some weight,  and just feel so much better.   I think of it as preventive physical therapy and mental therapy, too.  I am definitely healthier and stronger now than I was a couple of years ago.   I pretty much eat whatever I want, but I don’t have the cravings for junk food like I used to.  

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I have a lot of favorite things about Bikram Yoga.  I love the practice; I feel amazing after each and every class; I love the teachers – they are all wonderful, encouraging and inspiring.  I swear I learn something new from them at each class.   There’s a lot of positive energy flowing through the room.  Everyone is there for the same reason – we love Bikram Yoga and the way it makes us feel – inside out and bones to skin!  The studio is beautiful. I’m so thankful that we have access to this amazing workout and studio right here in Oswego.  I tell everyone I can about how wonderful Bikram Yoga is. 

  

June MacArthur, August 2013

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

My husband & I were originally from Fair Haven. We both went to Red Creek Central School, I finished my degree at SUNY Oswego after we retired and moved back home to the North. We traveled for a number of years after my husband was drafted into the Army and we were sent to Huntsville, AL. Couldn't seem to stand the winters after discovering the South. We spent over 30 years in the Florida Keys, but after 16 evacuations and getting hit with Hurricane George', the snow no longer looks so terrible. We've never regretted our decision to move home to Oswego. You don't have to run away for a snow storm or blizzard. 

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

I had done Bikram Yoga in Key West about 12 years ago for about 6 months. Never did the Camel though! I had been involved with the YMCA since I moved home but my knees and hips kept hurting with the cold yoga that I finally had to stop and do other exercises and dance classes. I'd get bored and have to try something different. Also, I started falling, my ankles and knees kept giving out or twisting on me. I was concerned whether I could handle the heat at my advanced age but it was so cold in December I figured the heat would feel good. And it was!

How often do you practice?

I practice at least 3 times a week, the 6 am class, but I did the 30 day challenge a few weeks ago and I'm so proud of that! I broke through an old injury from 30 years ago, adhesions on a back thigh.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

Bikram Yoga has changed my life! I came in with bad knees & hips, a frozen shoulder and wearing size 16 or large. My frozen shoulder has been gone for months, my hips & knees are much better and I'm not falling any more. I don't know whether it's my balance is better or just all the little muscles around my ankles and knees being strengthened. I've lost 20 lbs., plus my grandmother's double chin! I've given away all my large clothes and may soon be out of the size 14s I've been buying at Thrifty Shopper and Salvation Army! I stand straighter and my shoulders are back where they should be, no more old lady back for me!

What are the greatest benefits of your practice? How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

My husband tells me I look 15 years younger because of Bikram. My skin has lost its dryness and looks healthier. I feel so much better. No more aches and pains, well some during the 30 day challenge. But I saw such physical changes during those 30 days that I plan to do it twice a year.

I take a number of pills for the family genes of diabetes and heart disease. I pay attention to what my body tells me, but my doctor says if my blood pressure keeps going down like it is she'll let me start cutting back on some of them.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

We've been vegetarians for several years, trying to go vegan. Bikram helps us both eat better. I am competitive but Sandy, Judy and all the great instructors tell us not to compete with the others. So I compete with myself, and every day is different and I haven't gotten bored once!

Cheryl Sellars, July 2013

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I was raised on Onondaga Hill, Syracuse , NY. We have been in Oswego for the last 29 years , where we have raised our 3 children. I have always liked to be active and work out, mostly walking over the last several years. We have an historic home that we love to renovate and makeover. I have been a Dental Hygienist for the last 30 years. 

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

The last year , my shoulders have really bothered me, to the point of interrupting my sleep. I have always had regular chiropractic adjustments for the last 22 years, but it wasn't helping my shoulder pian. My coworker, Terri Hourigan, has been practicing Bikram for 2 years , and I finally decided to try it. I was hooked after my first class.

How often do you practice?

I plan to be in the studio 5 times a week, but 4 is my minimum.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

This yoga practice has given me so much energy and stamina. I am no longer exhausted after work, and danced the night away at a wedding recently. My husband will verify that my disposition is better, I have much more inner peace. 

What are the greatest benefits of your practice? How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

Bikram yoga's greatest benefit has been finding myself again, and an unbelievable feeling of contentment daily!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I have never looked forward to doing any exercising, but I really look forward to my Bikram classes. All the teachers, Sandy, Debbie, Judy, Eunsong, and Marina, have taught me so much, with patience and smiles. I can't imagine my life without it now!!

Robin McMillen, June 2013

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I was raised in the small, quiet town of Phoenix, NY. I moved to Hannibal, NY (an even smaller and quieter town) in 1987 and still reside there today. I am an accountant by day and a yogi by night!

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

My exercise passion was kickboxing daily. Due to my deteriorating spine and arthritis throughout my body, my doctor sternly cautioned me to stop kickboxing and find something else that had less impact on my joints. I began to practice traditional yoga and found it satisfying spiritually but not challenging enough physically. I began to research different types of yoga. I discovered Bikram Yoga through my research and found there was a Bikram studio in Oswego, NY (right in my back yard). Bikram Yoga seemed to be quite challenging so I thought I would attend one class to check it out. The one class left me wanting more. Little did I realize this discover would change my life.

How often do you practice?

In the beginning of my practice I made a commitment to practice daily. My first class proved my mind and body would not allow me to practice the 26 postures correctly. I was determined to learn the postures as quickly as possible, so I could reap the benefits and be as good as the person next to me. I quickly learned that my body would not allow this accelerated learning process to occur and that competing with the person on the mat next to me was not a healthy approach. Bikram Yoga practice requires patience, super listening skills, and a bull dog determination. I began to realize that this is my yoga and some days would be better than others. I have leveled my practice to 4-5 times a week.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

I thought my physical limitations would be a handy cap to my practice. I have arthritis throughout my body,  especially in my spine, which can be very painful at times. I am on pain and anti-inflammatory medication. My right ankle was broken in 2012 which involved surgery to place a plate and 12 screws in my ankle so I could walk. The surgery left me with limited movement in my foot and ankle. I have been on my yoga journey since March 2013 and my arthritis in almost non-existent and my ankle is moving in directions I would never thought possible. My ultimate goal is be less dependent on medications for pain management.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice? How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

The greatest benefits of my practice is my physical and emotional changes to my life. My body contour is changing. I am losing weight and finally fitting into clothes I haven't worn in a couple of years. My mobility has certainly increased and my pain level is manageable. I also can handle the hot humid temperatures. I am able to handle stress better and I am more forgiving and tolerant to those things I can not change.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I have a list of favorite parts of Oswego Bikram Yoga. The first is the wonderful teachers; Sandy, Deb, EunSeong, Judy, and Marina. I would not be where I am today without these 5 awesome mentors. From the turn of the door knob I was welcomed, unjudged, encouraged, and challenged. My fellow yogi's have been a huge inspiration to me also. I love watching myself and everyone transform like a flower petal blooming. The studio and atmosphere of the surroundings is surreal. There is so much positive energy inside you almost forget the rest of the world exists.

I encourage everyone to come along on this 90 minute moving meditation journey. I guarantee you will not regret your decision to become a fellow Bikram Yogi! 

Namaste!

Kristin Smith, May 2013

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I grew up in Oswego, NY. Growing up I was very very active playing sports and competing in dance. I graduated from Oswego State last August with a business administration degree and am pursuing a career in business and marketing. My hobbies include music, traveling, running, hiking/ anything outdoors, and of course Bikram Yoga! I am actually just about to venture to Boulder, Colorado to begin start a new path of my life and will miss my Oswego yogis so incredibly much!

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

I learned about Bikram yoga about four years ago from Sandy's daughter, Nicole, whom I worked with at the time. She was always trying to get us to go and  I finally decided to give it a try. The first time I tried it I felt like it was pure torture. I got home and swore I'd never be back but for some reason I couldnt get it out of my mind and have been hooked ever since!

How often do you practice?

I try to practice about 4  to 5 times a week, depending on how busy my schedule is. If I could, I would practice everyday! 

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

Before I started Bikram yoga I had horrible knee problems and was supposed to get orthopedic surgery on both my knees. However with the recovery process being so long I did not want to be off my feet for so long. However, after practicing Bikram yoga I have not had any knee problems since! If I don't practice for a couple weeks my knees actually begin to bother me again so Bikram has been my answer and I am so thankful for that! Overall, I feel so much healthier in every way!

What are the greatest benefits of your practice? How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

The greatest benefits to Bikram Yoga is in all aspects of my life. I started eating healthier and have seen amazing changes  to my body. I also use Bikram as a form of meditation and have helped to ease my anxiety and stress. My ability to cope with things and have patience in everyday life has improved immensely. I honestly do not know what I did before Bikram yoga. I really believe it has changed my life and I cannot begin to explain how much I love practicing it.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

We are so lucky to have the beautiful studio in Oswego, NY. I am so thankful to Sandy for having the studio in Oswego. Not only is it beautiful but the staff of teachers are always so supportive and encouraging. Also all of my fellow yogis are so encouraging as well! Thanks so much Sandy, Deb, Judy and all of the traveling teachers throughout the years. 

If you have not tried  Bikram yoga I highly suggest it, it has completely transformed my life and everytime I get to practice I am so happy to be there! 
Namaste!

Nick Runeare, April 2013

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I recently graduated from the University of Rochester and have moved back to my hometown, Palermo, New York (just East of Fulton).  I am pursuing a career as a physician and will be moving to Syracuse in the fall to attend SUNY Upstate Medical University.  I am a musician (oboe & English horn) and I enjoy cooking, reading, running and swimming. I have been a vegetarian for twelve years.  I hope to emphasis healthy eating and exercise habits in my medical practice, advocating vegetable-centric diets and practices, such as yoga, for their health and regenerative effects.

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

After about eight months of practicing Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, I began to look for something a little more challenging but still maintained emphasis on breathing and meditation.  A friend, Rachel Misztal, suggested that I try Bikram yoga and guaranteed me I would love it.  She was right.

How often do you practice?

I have been attending class five or six times a week.  I try to balance regular practice of yoga, going to the gym, and running...but yoga always seem to win out.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

I really didn't come to Bikram with specific issues, except maybe my constant concern about maintaining good posture.  I was looking for a substantial physical work-out and release of mental stress.  Bikram yoga has certainly improved my overall well-being.  Yoga, in general, puts me more in touch with my mind and body.  Bikram has improved my ability to listen to myself and to others.  My flexibility has also improved greatly. I used to think the instructors were crazy, asking us to touch our heads on the floor between our feet (standing separate leg stretch) or touching our toes, but now I know it’s possible and that we are all capable.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

I think the improvements to my listening skills and concentration have been my greatest take-a-ways.  I find it much easier to concentrate on the task at hand and have learned to stop my mind from wandering.

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

Bikram has influenced my life outside the hot room.  I find myself eating healthier and hydrating…constantly.  My flexibility and strength have increased greatly and I find it much easier to control my emotions.  Most importantly, "I find I tell myself more often that I can, as opposed to I cannot, or should not.  These aspects of Bikram have seeped into my everyday life. 

What is your favorite part about Bikram Yoga Oswego?

The overall environment is amazing.  I love that the beautiful Kingsford house is nestled in a small city like Oswego.  It is a unique venue and presents a perfect location for your "ninety minute meditation”.  The hot room also presents the perfect escape from twenty degree weather. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Just a huge thank you to the instructors and students at Oswego Bikram Yoga.  Everyone has great energy, and you generate such a welcoming and encouraging environment.  Thank you so much for this positive experience.

Katie Stout, March 2013

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I was born in Reedsburg, WI to two awesome parents (one of them another illustrious Yogi of the Month!) who always encouraged me to do my best, even if it wasn't perfect. That encouragement helped me accomplish a lot in life I thought I never could, including becoming an English teacher online and at SUNY, an organic farmer/veggie slinger for Grindstone Farm, both of which I love, and living off-the-grid with my handsome husband, three cats, and six chickens in a tipi half the year, which I also love, but perhaps my parents not so much...no, the chickens don't live in the tipi with us.

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

My amazing family introduced me to this yoga. My cousin Derek, who a lot of you had the pleasure to know when he taught here in Oswego last year, encouraged my sister and me quite a few years ago to try out this cracked idea of doing yoga in 105 degree room. He kept telling us
how great it was, and that Madonna did it! My sister Sarah got hooked immediately and went straight to teacher training, but my first experience with the yoga was a trial. After my first class, I thought "thank God that's over so I never have to do it again," even though I felt amazing after a 3-hour nap following class. I came back to the yoga a couple years later after a back injury and much encouragement from my sister to try to use the yoga to fix the injury; the yoga relieved my pain almost immediately, and amazingly realigned my back and kept it that way. After that astonishment, I got hooked too.

How often do you practice?

I usually practice 3-4 days a week.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

Like I mentioned, I had a back injury from too much bending over and lifting while farming. The yoga fixed it. I realized that if I can come at least 2-3 times a week, I have absolutely no physical pain—and I'm pretty clumsy, so I've broken myself a few times. I have no pain. It's unreal. Even the arthritis I was developing from a twice broken wrist is gone, as long as I continue my regular practice.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

Even better than not having pain is realizing how free I am to develop my body's and my mind's capabilities. This yoga has opened my eyes to the fact that I'm more than the body that carries me around, but I can use my body as a tool to accomplish just about anything I imagine, especially if I keep this sack of bones well-maintained. More than anything, my amazing teachers—Sandy, Judy, Eun Seong, Deb, Sachiko, Wendy, Maggie, Derek, Sarah...the list goes on...have helped me see beauty in both failure and success, and to realize my own power of
determination and personal forgiveness.

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

I couldn't imagine life without Bikram yoga anymore. My health is great. I don't get as angry about little stuff anymore. Plus I can eat lots of cheese and donuts and still fit into my clothes.

What is your favorite part about Bikram Yoga Oswego?

Everything. That new orange coconut water is pretty awesome too.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

To everyone I've endlessly harassed about trying out a class, just do it already. You've got nothing to lose. And to everyone who has come just once, try it one more time. You'll feel so good afterward. I promise :)

Lisa Drake, February 2013

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I was born in Oswego and never left! I am 54 years old. I worked as a medical secretary in a surgeon’s office for 26 years, and now have an awesome job at SUNY Oswego in the Environmental Health & Safety Department. Exercise is very important to me. I swim laps, do a lot of walking, and-of course-I love Bikram Yoga! I love being outdoors-especially at the beach or golf course.

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

I had heard about Bikram Yoga and wanted to try it for a long time. In November 2010 I finally decided it was time. I knew I would hate it because I’m not a big fan of heat and humidity, but I had to try it just to say that I gave it a shot-plus I had always wanted to see the beautiful Kingsford House. Amazingly, I made it through my first class and several more after that. I was hooked!

How often do you practice?

I’ve been taking 3-4 classes a week, and hope to increase that.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

I’ve always had neck issues, and other aches and pains now and then. Everything feels better with regular practice. My Chiropractor has been seeing a lot less of me! I have lost 10 lbs over the last couple years since starting Bikram Yoga. I am drinking more water and my eating habits have changed for the better.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

When I finish a class I feel like I’ve climbed Mt. Everest. It is an amazing feeling of accomplishment. I was talking to a group of friends about this one night. Someone commented that people who practice Bikram Yoga have huge egos. At first this made me a little angry, but then I thought that maybe she was onto something. It definitely makes you feel good about yourself-a real confidence booster!

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

I just feel better in every way! It’s great to come to class after a stressful day and let go of everything for 90 minutes.

What is your favorite part about Bikram Yoga Oswego?

Wow! Tough question. It’s all good. The studio is absolutely gorgeous and the teachers are AMAZING! We are SO fortunate to have you. Thank you!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Don’t be afraid to try it! We have students of all ages, sizes, and shapes. We all practice at different levels and no one is judged. We’re all on a wonderful journey! 

Jaclyn Scaccia, January 2013

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I was born and grew up in Oswego, NY. I graduated from Oswego State in 2011 with a degree in Elementary Education. Right now I am substitute teaching and am very excited to look for a job this spring. Practicing Bikram Yoga is one of my most favorite things to do. I also love reading books, listening to music, photography, traveling and enjoying nature.

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

I went to my first Bikram class with my sister after she told me about it. I was very intrigued by the room being hot and I had always wanted to try yoga. 

How often do you practice?

I like to practice Bikram as much as possible! If I am able to go everyday in the week, I will! Right now I am committing myself to at least three times a week.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

Before beginning Bikram I had pretty bad back pain from waitressing for many years and sitting for long hours in college. Since I have been practicing Bikram, I can honestly say my back is much stronger and I have no pain! My emotional well-being has improved greatly. I am able to refocus back to my peace so much easier now. The list of benefits that this yoga has provided for me could go on and on! Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually,-my life is much different than it was before I began practicing.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

The greatest benefits of my practice has been the elimination of my back pain and how much flexibility I have gained. I remember my very first class and I was not able to touch my toes. I now can not only touch my toes, but I can place my palms on the floor! This yoga has had a huge impact on me mentally and emotionally. I am more calm, content and able to cope with stressful situations so much easier. My body now has a full range of motion whereas before certain movements would have hurt.

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

I am a much more healthier person than I was before I began. I pay very close attention now to what kinds of foods I eat. I drink more water. I pay attention to my breathing. I now enjoy meditating. I am much more focused, relaxed and patient.

What is your favorite part about Bikram Yoga Oswego?

Bikram Yoga Oswego is the very best! The teachers are absolutely amazing, the atmosphere is very positive, and the studio is gorgeous!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Give Bikram Yoga a try and you will soon be hooked! My advice is to be very patient with yourself and never give up. I remember how inflexible I was when I began and it's truly amazing to see how far I have come. Don't be nervous about the heat, it is the BEST part! NAMASTE! 

Lisa Robinson, November 2012

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I was born in Oswego and lived here my entire life with the exception of college at Alfred University. I am now an attorney that specializes in civil defense litigation at a law firm in Syracuse (yes, I make the commute EVERY day). Besides practicing Yoga, I own and ride a horse, Rosie, that I purchased off the racetrack about 8 years ago. I mainly ride for pleasure but we do jumping and compete in Hunter Paces. I also work out at the gym and/or jog when I can.

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

My cousin, Terri Hourigan (who also was a yogi of the month), brought me to Bikram Yoga. She started last summer and I noticed that she looked absolutely AMAZING so I had to try it. I loved it after my first class.

How often do you practice?

As often as I can, usually 3 to 4 times a week.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

I tore my left ACL, meniscus and MCL skiing in 2007 and had ACL reconstruction in April 2007. Then in 2009 I tore my right ACL skiing at Whiteface. I had that reconstruction surgery in November 2009. When I started yoga and tried to sit Japanese style, my hips were cocked because of the scar tissue in my left knee and I could not do the fixed firm pose for about three months. After three months, though, I could get into that pose. Because of yoga the immediate improvements in my knees were astounding. Now, I can feel the stiffness return in my knees if I do not practice every few days. So, I will be a yogi for life because of that benefit!!

Also, I have severe allegies and asthma. BOTH have improved since I started yoga a year ago. In fact, this past winter was the first winter season in about 10 years that I did not get a sinus infection. I also noticed after a few months of Yoga that I hardly had to use my inhaler any more before or after gym workouts.

Overall, yoga has made me feel the best I have felt in years.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

The health benefits I listed above are great, but that contented feeling that you get after class is my favorite thing about yoga.

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

My health has improved greatly, and I get sick less often. In addition, my ability to handle the many stresses in my job and life has greatly improved and I believe that is also because of yoga.

What is your favorite part about Bikram Yoga Oswego?

That feeling of well being that you get after class. It's so addictive that's why I keep coming back!!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

There are so many great benefits about yoga, I think everyone should be doing it! It's never to late to start!!  

Mike Donovan, September 2012

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I was born and raised in Oswego where I attended Oswego High School.  I went to college at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fl.  I have enjoyed playing sports all my life.  I have always enjoyed the challenge of competition.  I currently work at the Novelis plant in Oswego for a computer consulting company called CGI.  I have been married for 9 years to Kellie Donovan and have two wonderful children, Jack and Audrey.

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

I first attended Bikram Yoga when my wife (Kellie) called me to ask if I would like to do a workout that we could do together.  I was so worried she wanted to do ball room dancing I immediately said yes to yoga.  That first class, I regretted it but it was so hard and challenging I knew I needed to go back. Four  years later I love how I feel after every class.

How often do you practice?

I attend class generally 3 times a week.  Like most people, I have a very busy schedule and am very happy to get to class 3 times a week.   

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

I pretty much just had an overall feeling of stiffness from head to toe.  By attending class, I walk out with an overall great feeling.  I feel energized, flexible and stronger every time I get done.    

My health has improved greatly, and I get sick less often. In addition, my ability to handle the many stresses in my job and life has greatly improved and I believe that is also because of yoga.


What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

The greatest benefits have been the strength and energy I have gained from yoga.

What is your favorite part about Bikram Yoga Oswego?

I really enjoy the challenge of doing Bikram yoga and the great feeling of accomplishment I have when I walk out of the studio.  I also enjoy the friends my wife and I have made through yoga and the experiences we have been able to share.    

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Just that we need more people to get up in the morning and attend the 6:00 am class.  You may feel stiff at first but you feel great the rest of the day!  Also thank you Sandy for providing us the opportunity to learn about and practice Bikram yoga in our hometown.    

Bill Stout, July 2012

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I was born in Rockford Illinois before God made dirt; married for 33 years with 3 great kids and 3 wonderful grandchildren. I've been a high school teacher/coach; worked ranches in Idaho and been a Manager in the Motion Control Industry for over 30 years- all in all an interesting and fulfilling career; hopefully one that continues for a number of years. 

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

My daughter Sarah got introduced to Bikram Yoga by my nephew Derek. She became a Bikram teacher and actually went to the same training as Sandy. I took my first two classes while in Texas visiting Sarah; they were the two hardest work outs I had ever gone through- darn near passed out 3 or 4 times. 

I was having trouble with my achilles tendons (was a runner all my life) and a surgeon suggested surgery; Sarah recommended Bikram! She told me about Sandy in Oswego- that was approximately 3 years ago.  

How often do you practice?

My goal is to attend 2-3 classes per week schedule permitting. I drive from Watertown and am a little envious of yogis who live close to the studio.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

In approximately 3 months my achilles tendons had improved; today I don't have any swelling or soreness. Previously I had a hard time walking when I first got out of bed in the morning- no such problems anymore. I've had lower back issues for almost 20 years and only used a chiropractor to deal with the pain; with Bikram my back issues have really dropped off and only occur when I do some stupid lifting by myself. If I do go to the Chiropractor my back usually slides back into place more easily.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

I think anytime you can do something for yourself that helps you out physically- to make you feel better about yourself, it not only helps your physical well-being but improves your emotional well-being and therefore leads to overall better health. I don't get nearly as many colds or head aches as I used to and believe it or not I do seem to have better energy- just not 3 minutes after class. 

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

I look forward to class and I look forward to seeing the new friends I've met through this practice. No matter how young or old, in shape or not, everyone who keeps coming back feels better about themselves- that's a miracle in my book.

What is your favorite part about Bikram Yoga Oswego?

I think the patient support for improvement over time has been important; every one of us is different and blessed with different skills. It has been humbling to be in a room with so many people who have so much better balance than me but the ongoing support of everyone keeps me coming back to 'try again'. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I'm blessed to have Katie, Sarah and Derek encouraging me to participate in Bikram Yoga and twice blessed to have the 'Elegant Bikram Yoga of Oswego' as my home base for training with wonderful teachers I now call my friends. 

Michele Lloyd, June 2012

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Michele Lloyd.  I am a life resident of Oswego; I have been a Math Teacher at Oswego High School for 20 years.  I received my bachelor's and master's degrees  from SUNY Oswego.  I have two grown sons, Nick(27) and Tim(25), who live in Pittsburgh and Hilton Head Island.

My husband and I will celebrate our 29th anniversary on July 1.  We like to travel to warm places, visit our boys and golf, both at home and when we travel. Our boys grew up playing ice hockey so we keep up with the Oswego State Lakers and the high school team.  We also enjoy  watching SU sports, football, professional golf, hockey and baseball.

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

One of my girlfriends was raving about it and my sister wanted to try it.   I'm always looking for interesting ways to take better care of my body since it gets so much harder to stay in shape when you get to be my age.

How often do you practice and what specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class?

When I first started in January, I came 5 to 6 times a week.  Since April, I have been coming 3 or 4 times a week.  I actually feel a little better when I skip a day or two in between.  I used to feel a little achy when I got up in the morning before I 'got going' and I occasionally felt like I just moved slow. 

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

The first thing I noticed was better posture.  I felt myself standing/sitting straighter (without really making an effort to do so) .  I definitely feel a difference in just the little things.like bending over to pick things up, reaching above my head and even walking with more bounce.  I also feel much more energized throughout the day.

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

I find myself eating smaller portions.  I definitely make it a point to drink more water.  On days when I plan to practice, I eat very light and then when I am done practice, I eat a smaller meal.  I really have never sweat to the extent that I do in this class.  When I get out, I feel drained but so accomplished at the same time.  I even attended a Bikram class when I went to North Carolina on vacation in April.  It was very interesting to see other people practicing just like me.  You can't help but be proud of your efforts when you leave as it is so physically demanding so, yea, I feel really good about my decision to practice when I do. 

What is your favorite part about Bikram Yoga Oswego?

Like I said, I attended a class out of state.  They didn't give me that cold scented washcloth that Bikram Yoga Oswego puts on our forehead after each practice.  Just thinking about that towards the middle of each practice makes me keep going.  I also like seeing different people and the location is perfect for me - great parking, beautiful, clean studio.   Not to mention I feel welcome and no matter what I can/can't do with my body on any day, I have still accomplished something.
For anyone thinking about Bikram Oswego Yoga, I would say:  "give it a try -- at least for the first ten days.  You will be surprised at how fast 90 minutes goes by and you probably will never have felt like you do when you get through those 90 minutes."

Terri Hourigan, May 2012

Tell us a little bit about yourself- where you were born, where you grew up, career, hobbies, interests, etc.

My name is Terri Hourigan. I was born and raised here in Oswego. I have been a dental hygienest for the past 18 years with the same dental practice. Dental Health Solutions in Fulton.I am a wife and a mother of two children, Meghan (15) & Bryce (12). I lead a very busy life working full time and following our children with Irish step dancing, hockey & baseball trying to find time to golf on the weekends with my husband, Jamie.


What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice? Where did you first learn about Bikram yoga?

I heard about BYO from two of my girlfriends. They were taking the yoga class and couldn't stop talking about it, so I just had to try it. I walked in only knowing that I was going to sweat a lot.That night after my first class I was hooked, I went on the computer reading everything I could, ordering Bikram's Beginning Yoga book. 

How often do you practice?

I practice about 5-6 times a week. I recently completed the 60X60 Day Challenge. Which means I was one of three awesome yogis from this studio who practiced Bikram yoga for 60 consecutive days. For me the more I practice the better I feel.

What specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class? What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

I did not start BY to see if it would help any specific issues. After taking the class for the past 9 months I have noticed a great improvement in my digestion. I can also say that I have not had any job related "aches & pains" that I had in the past which included tennis elbow, shoulder & lower back pain. I have lost weight, & have watched my body tone up. It's exciting to see your body/mind change in the mirror.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

My overall physical and mental well being has changed since doing Bikram yoga. I am calmer, can deal with stress easier, and just don't let the little things bother me like they used to. 

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

Practicing Bikram yoga has changed my day to day life by making me realize what foods I put into my body and when. Making sure I drink enough water throughout the day & I also want to eat healthier foods.

What is your favorite part about Oswego Bikram yoga?

There are so many things I could says but my favorite parts of BYO are the cold, secented wash clothes & when its a small class, Sandy walks into the room with towels in her hand, then I know the spine strengthening series will go so much smoother.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

"You're never too sick or too old, it's never too late, to start from scratch once again!" ~Bikram Choudhury

Audra Gehan, September 2011

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm 22 years old and was born, grew up and still live at home here in Oswego, NY.  I attended LeMoyne College where I graduated last May with a bachelors of science in Biology and minors in chemistry and psychology.  I am currently attending SUNY Upstate Medical University in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.  I enjoy an active lifestyle.  I was involved with sports all through high school and have continued to run and workout throughout college and now.  Since beginning the Physical Therapy program at Upstate I have come to believe more in the benefits and reasoning behind each of the 26 postures of the class.  Bringing together the classes that I am taking at school and learning how to help people directly relate to different aspects of yoga, I am interested in learning more about how yoga and physical therapy could become integrated to better serve a patient in their road to recovery.

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

My first Bikram class was in January 2011.  I had been at my aunt's house for a holiday party and she was talking about the hot yoga class she had been going to and how much she enjoyed it.  I love trying new workouts so I decided to tag along with her to see what all her raving was really about.  My first class was definitely different from any other type of workout I had ever done.  After about my 5th class I realized I needed Bikram in my life.  Overall, I felt better on the days I attended class compared to the ones I did not.  After every class, I felt like I had just finished an intense workout or a long run but along with that feeling of accomplishment, I felt calm and relaxed and ready to take on what the day had to offer. 

How often do you practice and what specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class?

First off, I am addicted to Bikram yoga so when I can come to a class everyday, I do.  With school started back up again, I try to make class as often as I can, which is usually 4 or 5 times a week.  I look forward to my yoga class- its my 90 minutes for myself, away from the stresses of everything else going on in life.What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

I did not have any specific physical issues prior to coming to yoga but I have noticed a great deal of change physically and emotionally with yoga.  I feel I am in better shape now than I ever have been.  I am more toned than I ever was just working out and using free weights at the gym.  My endurance and stamina have improved greatly as well.  Running now is much less strenuous and I have been able to run farther distances faster than I could before yoga.  Yoga has also greatly improved my posture and strengthened my back- I don't slouch as much and my back is no longer sore from carrying around a heavy backpack at school all day.  My stress level is significantly less with yoga.  It has taught me how to relax and to think more in the present, not worry about the past or to anticipate about the future.  The concentration and determination it takes to make it through a class has helped me to be able to focus and has built up my willpower.  I know if I can survive 90 minutes in "Bikram's torture chamber" then I can make it through just about anything.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

I think the greatest benefits from practicing Bikram are the order and balance it has helped me bring to my life.  Yes, the physical aspects and changes are great, but yoga has helped me to keep everything in my busy schedule in balance.  I don't become as overwhelmed and stressed over things that used to bother me, like a big exam at school.  I have learned to better self reflect and not to dwell on things that I have no control over.  I have found that the breathing exercise of class can be easily transferred over to any situation to help me take a minute to step away and then come back with a clear head. 

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

Yoga has given me a new appreciation for my body.  I am more conscious now of what I eat.  Since starting yoga I have transitioned into a more vegetarian diet and have cut back on sweets and synthetic foods.  I like the way I feel eating more organic and I don't feel I need that candy or cookie for a little pick me up anymore.  Yoga keeps me energized through the day and has helped me to snack less and take time to think about what I am going to eat.  I am also more aware of making sure I get enough sleep and since I started yoga I find myself waking up earlier and being less tired.  I am able to get more things done and be more productive and am less lazy.  Overall, yoga has helped me become a healthier person in all levels of my life.

What is your favorite part about Bikram yoga?

My favorite part about Bikram yoga is that there is always room for improvement.  I am a very competitive person and I like being able to compete against myself each class and to push myself to go further into postures.  Being able to get a "personal best" every class is what keeps me coming back day after day.  Bikram yoga never gets old because every class is a different, unique experience.  Some days I feel like I am going to have to lay down or leave the room during class and others I feel like I'm barely working. But no matter how the class goes, when I finish I feel accomplished and energized. 
 
As Bikram says,  "You have nothing to lose. You had nothing to begin with." The class is for everyone, so come try. We all agree, “It’s better to suffer for 90 minutes than 90 years!"

Dan Carroll, August 2011

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm a CNY "lifer." I grew up in Fulton, as did both my family and wife, Jennifer's. Our families have been in the area for several generations and I love the shared sense of family history and celebration that comes from being here for so long. 

In my work life, I'm a Horticulturist, and have worked in the world of plants ever since I was a kid... it's been a profession that has immersed me in the outdoors. I really enjoy the connection to nature that working with plants provides. Pretty much, I just like being alive. 

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

Well... a couple of yeas ago my wife, Jennifer, started coming to the Oswego studio and raved about the class. She suggested (with great passion!) that I try a few classes. I'd taken some yoga before but never a Bikram class. I had no idea what to expect. Even though someone can try their best to describe it, you really need to just try it yourself. 

How often do you practice and what specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class?

I could talk forever about this question. As I mentioned, my wife suggested I try a class. At that time, I was adjusting/transitioning to a new path in life. I've always been very active, and have been a competitive runner for the better part of 40 years. By competitive, I mean personally, ... always wanting to get better, faster, run longer... always wanting to get deeper into the activity. Running 40, 50, 60 miles a week was a constant, intimate part of my life. It carried me from grade school until my late 40's, around and around the seasons, on the streets, in the woods, with best friends, family, and most favorite of all... dogs! Being able to run was the steadying rudder of my life, both physically and mentally. Physical issues, however, made it very difficult to continue the  way I wanted. I guess my "issue" was I would never have that feeling of joy that one experiences  from having the ability to pursue a passion. I was very sad that I had "lost" a very important part of my life. But I must say (very happily) that discovering Bikram has been wonderful. Now, if I had the time, I'd come everyday of the week! By typically, 4-5 days a week is average. I'm looking forward to the next 40 years!What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

As the teachers will often say whenever there is a new student, "You never forget your first class." And it's true! Walking into the room for the first time is a bit intimidating and nerve wracking... it's hot as hell and you have no idea what to do. But by the time I was a few poses in, I was hooked! I felt stronger, healthier and happier after that very first class. 

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

The progression of the class... always being the same sequence of poses is very calming. Of course, and what I like the most, is the fact that you have to work hard at it. Like during Balancing Stick, when you feel like your chest is going to burst open! Your heart is pounding, the sweat is pouring off... and then, instant stillness. It took me awhile to get comfortable with the concept of the class as a moving meditation... because you wonder to yourself, "How can I meditate when I'm so blasted tired!?" But it works- your mind gets stronger, along with your body, and now, after class is over, it feels like I've clicked a reset button and both my mind and body feel better. 

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

These are all tough questions, as I believe yoga is a very personal pursuit. I guess I can just simply say it makes me incredibly happy!

What is your favorite part about Oswego Bikram yoga?

That's like asking someone what's your favorite part about Christmastime! Everything! The class is 90 minutes long, which is awesome. With the pace of life so rapid and crazed, there is something very relaxing and satisfying about making the time to practice. It's a personal commitment to yourself, your fellow students and instructors, and to yoga itself. One of the things I loved about running, was the feeling of being in a pack of other runners, the mass of people moving as one yet each individual immersed in self, working hard. It's really a great feeling when there is a large class... you can really be "moved" along by the energy of all the students. And the class is hard! Really, really hard! A physical and mental challenge to get as deep into a pose as you can, and then return to a state of stillness. You have to listen to the dialogue, "to challenge yourself" as the teachers implore us all to do, but each within the confines of our own abilities. 

I also love the fact that my wife and I can take classes together. Time together as a couple, real time, is hard to find. Having yoga as an integral part of our lives has become a very rewarding experience for both of us. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Kill yourself for 90 minutes! It's worth it just for the washcloth!

Deb Tesoriero, July 2011

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I grew up in Clay, NY, right on Onieda Lake, and went to Cicero High School. I graduated in 1979.I was brought up in a marching band and I was the drum majorette who lead them all down the road. Yeah a baton twirler. All male band who raised money for Cerebral Palsy. I have worked since I was 12 years old. I have always been into sales and collections. I really don't have any particular hobbies, but I do like to workout. I walk/jog 5-7 miles and I bike ride and rollerblade. I love to dance, more than anything. When the music is playing, I am dancing (I don't even need a partner)! Yoga is now my life practice.

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

A friend of mine called to see how I was doing and said she was going to this hot yoga class because she needed a change in her workout routine. I said, "You know, I have heard of that and I'll go with you if you want." I never gave it a second thought and I never even asked the hubby. Ha, ha. I don't know why, but I just did it. At that time, I also needed a change in routine. My husband was sick with cancer and I was his strength.

How often do you practice and what specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class?

I try to go at least 5 times a week or more. I feel if I don't go I lose my center, and well being.What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

Physical issues that I had before yoga were stomach issues, stress, emotional turmoil, and lower back pain.Yoga has helped me to almost eliminate all of these issues. I have been able to eliminate two surgeries- one on my stomach for the uncontrolable heart burn and one on my lower back because I have a vertebrae that has slipped completely out of my spine (spondylolisthesis). I was told I would not be able to run or do strenuous exercise. Hmmm.

What are the greatest benefits of your practice?

You ask what are the greatest benefits....My husband passed away last September, and if it wasn't for the teachers- Sandy, Judy and Maggie, I don't think I would have had the physical and mental strength to get him through his courageous fight, without yoga. 

How has this practice changed your health and life? Any emotional or other benefits?

I don't get sick with the stomach issues anymore (unless I have had a few too many). My back doesn't hurt like it did because it is much stronger.Yoga has changed my life in so many ways. I listen to each and every word the teachers are saying. Sandy has said, let it go don't think about it, bring it back to your breath and stay focused on yourself and it doesn't matter what anyone else is doing.  Judy has said use your bulldog determination and you CAN do it. It's mind over matter. You can do anything if you put your mind to it. Maggie has said let go of the past, you cannot change it, don't think about the future, it's not here yet, and stay focused on the present. I live each day by what they have said. My husband passed away and I cannot change that. I can only move forward and think about today, because tomorrow is not here yet. I am determined to focus on my inner peace, because no one can take that away from me. And I have gained that strength through their teachings of yoga.

What is your favorite part about Oswego Bikram yoga?

The confidence and self esteem that the teachers have taught me.  The way I look, the way I feel, the strength physically and emotionally and being able to help others get through their tough times, by telling them what I have been taught in yoga. I have inner peace and I am truly honored and grateful for being chosen yogi of the month.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Namaste.

Kate Nowak

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I grew up in Western New York. I was very into school, and also played volleyball, softball, and violin. I studied Computer Engineering at Rensselaer - where I also played volleyball - until I tore my ACL. It required surgery and pretty much ended my agility-oriented sporting activities. 

In college I participated in Navy ROTC, so after graduation I was commissioned as an Ensign in the fleet. I spent four years trying to be useful as an aircraft maintenance officer. The military is of course very big on running, but my knee couldn't handle too much, so I got into activities like swimming and step aerobics. 

After my Navy service, I attended SUNY Binghamton for a Master of Arts in Teaching Mathematics, and I have been teaching math for six years at Fayetteville Manlius High School.

What brought you to the Bikram yoga practice?

I started practicing yoga around 2004, when I moved to a town with a yoga studio. The style was Anusara, and I found that it improved my mood, sleep, and sense of well-being. Around that time I tried my first Bikram class on a visit to a major city, because the studio had a big sign on the side of the building that said "Hot Yoga!" with like flames and stuff, and I was intrigued - and I hated every second of it. I think I left the room after the first camel posture. The heat was just overwhelming, and no one told me it was ok to sit down or lay down. I stayed away for a long time, convinced that it wasn't for me.

Last summer I was feeling burned out on all my usual exercise like weight lifting and aerobics. I was also spending about 5 weeks in Brooklyn, and there was a Bikram studio within walking distance of where I was staying. The first class there was as rough as I remembered, but the teachers were extremely encouraging and gentle and convinced me it was ok to not do every posture and to sit down when I felt dizzy. They offered a 10 classes for $10 special, so I made myself go every day. Then I signed on for unlimited classes for one month, and ended up going every single day of my stay there. That first month or so, I saw the biggest improvements in my posture, decreased anxiety, and it just became a challenging game to see how much more I could do every day. You really make fast improvements when you first start.

When I returned home to Syracuse, I drove up to Bikram Yoga Oswego for a class the first day I was back. I was so impressed with the studio and the quality of instruction that I continued to go almost every day for the rest of the summer, even though it involved a drive. With Judy, Maggie, and Sandy's teaching, I have been able to deepen and strengthen my practice. As you get better, your progress doesn't come as quickly, but working hard makes the victories (getting your toes around your calf on the stubborn left side in Eagle, touching your forehead to the floor in standing-separate-leg-stretching) that much sweeter. Next up: kicking out in standing-head-to-knee, and getting all the way back with my knees on the ground in fixed-firm pose.

How often do you practice and what specific physical issues, if any, did you have before taking your first class?
Currently I practice two or three times a week. I would like to go more often, but working full time makes driving to Oswego every day impractical. However, I find that at this stage, I still see progress and get physical and mental benefits with a 2-3 times/week practice. When I first started, I was wary of my previous knee injury, but the Bikram practice has strengthened my knee joint to the point where I don't have to worry about it anymore.

What changes have you seen/felt in your body- overall physical and general well- being?

The biggest change and benefit has been that since I started practicing at the beginning of the summer, I have lost about 50 pounds. I attribute this more to the "tightening of loose mental screws" (as Bikram says) than to the physical activity itself. When I feel balanced and calm, I don't feel like eating when I'm not hungry or to console myself. I don't have to try so hard to maintain a sensible diet. In addition, I have noticed marked improvements in my posture, balance, strength, flexibility, and tone. I had been having minor sciatica and the beginnings of arthritis in my hip, but those symptoms have disappeared. I no longer feel exhausted or have achy feet or back or feel like I need to eat a bunch of sugar at the end of my work day. This practice is just really good for you.

What is your favorite part about Oswego Bikram yoga?

The teachers are really, really excellent. I visit the local Bikram studio any time I travel, and Sandy, Judy, and Maggie are as good or better as teachers you can find anywhere. They are faithful to the dialog, nudge you, with compassion, when you need nudging, and ensure students are getting individual feedback to improve their practice. 
 

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